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Housing Program Helps People Build A Better Foundation

PHOTO: Rachael McCarty got help from CASEWV when struggling with her dilapidated house while also working her way through college and caring for two children. Photo courtesy of CASEWV.
PHOTO: Rachael McCarty got help from CASEWV when struggling with her dilapidated house while also working her way through college and caring for two children. Photo courtesy of CASEWV.
March 15, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Advocates and clients say the community action agency for the southeast part of the state has housing programs that work really well.

The secret? The agency, CASEWV, helps people build good foundations in their lives.

Rachael McCarty, a full-time student and homeowner from Bluefield, got help from the agency in dealing with her rundown house while trying to stay in school and raise two young children.

McCarty says CASEWV helped her with home repairs and weatherization – and even found folks who could clean up a pile of abandoned tires.

"I would just like to thank CASE for everything they've done for me and my family,” McCarty says. “I was working full-time as a waitress, plus going to school. At that time, you know, I had no money. So that was a huge, huge help."

McCarty says without CASEWV she probably wouldn't be getting her business degree from Bluefield State College next year.

According to a survey done for West Virginia community action agencies last year, affordable housing is the second most pressing poverty issue in the state.

Oraetta Hubbard, executive director of CASEWV, says the agency serves about 7,000 people a year, and offers a range of services, including beds for the homeless and help for working people trying to buy a home.

Hubbard says getting people into housing and permanently turning them into contributing members of society means even offering such things as job training and help with medical issues.

"We do everything that they need in order to become self-sufficient,” she says. “We take people off of welfare and try to keep them off of welfare."

Hubbard points out that a majority of nurse assistants in Mercer County has gone through one of CASEWV’s job training programs.

For McCarty, an important part of the picture was the Head Start program the agency runs.

"My daughter, she really, really liked it,” McCarty recall. “And probably without that, she wouldn't have been able to go to preschool."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV